CALGARY - Residents of a low-income focused apartment will have to do without an accessibility button to open the door because it costs too much, says the building's property managers.
Robin Cummings, who relies on a mobility scooter, said she approached her landlords in September but has been told there will be no plans to retrofit the doorway at 215 Fairview Drive SE.
"They didn't even try so its pretty disappointing, especially with multiple low-income buildings that have people with walkers or scooters or things like that," said Cummings.
Building operator Horizon Housing sent this statement to CTV News:
"Since first learning about the issue from CTV September 13, we have been working closely with the resident to determine suitable solutions.
While all of our buildings are compliant with current building codes, not all are equipped with a full range of accessibility features. In cases where a resident may be challenged by this, we offer the opportunity to transfer to a building more suitable for their unique needs.
Given the potential cost of retrofitting older buildings with new technology, as a non-profit operator, we will continue to explore ways we can balance the desire for improved accessibility across our portfolio with our mission to provide affordable, appropriate homes to Calgarians in need."
Cummings says she can't afford the higher price of rent in an accessible building at the moment, and is waiting for a similarly priced room to become available--but she expects to be waiting for several months.
"They just don't seem to care. They say it's a really old building and they can't afford it and that was pretty well the end of the conversation," said Cummings.
Accessibility advocates say they sympathize that Horizon Housing is a non-profit organization with limited cash flow, but accommodations should be included in every Calgary building's budget.
"There are some grants that are available, but they are probably in higher demand. However, people do get awarded some funds and are able to move forward with some projects," said Sean Crump from Universal Access.
The group has also requested that the alberta building code be changed to ensure private residential buildings have automatic door openers.